Another first…

It’s taken me 8 months to getting around to making this post. I hope it can shine a bit of light for anyone headed towards a similar experience. Just remember that God has a plan, and trust that he only wants good for you!

There are certain experiences in life that most people hope to avoid. For me, having surgery was definitely in the top 10. I hate needles, IVs freak me out, and I’m a big baby about any cuts or scraps I get. Incisions sites were not something I even wanted to contemplate. This would also be my first experience with anesthesia, and I was scared it would make me sick or that I wouldn’t wake up. I knew I needed to do it, so in spite of my fears and worries I scheduled the laparoscopic cystectomy.

I was a nervous bundle of squeamishness in the weeks leading up to surgery. The pain from the cyst on my ovary had kept me going. It was obvious there was something wrong that needed to be fixed, and prayer had given me peace that I had made the right choice.

Two days before surgery the worst of the pain went away. I still had some discomfort with abrupt movement, but it seemed better. The first seed of doubt had been planted. Did I really need surgery, if it wasn’t hurting that badly anymore?

I had my pre-op appointment the next day. I was informed of the large bill I needed to pay before the surgery. That added another seed to the garden of doubt I was planting. Did I really need to spend that much money? They did another ultrasound, and things were the same. No improvement. (Seed#3- but no worse either!) My doctor saw me next, and gave me the speech of all the possible complications. Bam! Another seed…Do I really want to risk having complications? I honestly almost backed out in that moment. It was a scary speech, and I had grown quite the veritable farm of doubt by this point. I immediately prayed about it and felt like God was pushing me to go through with it. I knew in my heart that backing out would be a mistake. I couldn’t let fear of the unknown keep me from doing what was best.

I signed all the forms approving my procedure and headed next door to the hospital for my pre-op labs. They drew blood, went over my entire medical history, asked me tons of questions, did an EKG, and sent me on my way with wrist bands and instructions to take 2 showers with anti-bacterial soap before I came the next morning.

Needless to say, I didn’t get any sleep the night before. We had to be at the hospital at 5:30am. I’m not a morning person by any means, but I wasn’t even the tiniest bit sleepy. My mom and hubby came with me, and my mil (who was in town to help) stayed with my sleeping munchkins.

I went back alone to get prepped. The nurses had me wipe down with antibacterial wipes and put on a gown. They gave me special socks and strapped massaging devices to my legs to prevent blood clots. My doctor, several surgical nurses, and the anesthesiologist all popped in to either introduce themselves or check on me. It was very reassuring! They put in my IV, and it wasn’t too bad at all. Fear of needles made it less than pleasant, but a lovely nurse popped over to distract me. I was so thankful for that.

Finally, my family was allowed back with me. I still had about 45 min until my scheduled time, and the nerves were kicking in. My amazing, 6’2″, muscle man hubby ended up being a wonderful distraction. He passed out! Luckily, he was sitting on my bed and I was able to keep him from falling over. He’s only ever done it when he gets his own blood drawn, but apparently the worry about me and the medical environment were a bit much. Several nurses ran over, because my mom may have panicked a smidge (she didn’t know that he had a history of passing out). He was so embarrassed, but I was really touched by it honestly. It made me feel really loved. By the time all the nurses and the ER doctor who were checking on him left, it was time for me to go back.

I hugged my mom and kissed my hubby. The nurse put a shot in my IV, and the sensation of instantly drinking several very large margaritas took over. This may have also been declared (very loudly) to the nurse as she wheeled me back, and there may have been several people laughing. I was barely aware of my surroundings, as they brought me into the operating room. My doctor talked to me and gave my hand a squeeze. The anesthesiologist put a mask on my face for all of 3 seconds and I was out.

June 17′ – Dec 17’…Recovery

I had 2 thoughts when I woke up from surgery, and I have no idea if I said them in my head or out loud. “Yay! I’m alive!” & “Omgoodness, that really hurts!” There was a nurse sitting right beside me. She hopped up and immediately injected something into my IV, while telling me that she was sorry they had to do the big cut. I passed back out. I woke up a bit later and they let my family in to see me. I had been sleeping for a long time, and I’d missed the doctor update. My mom and hubby updated me. My doctor couldn’t get in through my belly button even after making a larger cut there, because of scar tissue. She had to do a horizontal cut (like a c-section). She had to take out my right ovary and tube, because they were complete gooey mush. She also removed lots of endometriosis scarring, which we didn’t know I had pre-surgery. I was allowed to go home that afternoon, and I immediately got in bed and pretty much stayed there for the next 10 days. I would get up to use the bathroom and to take the tiniest little walks. (Gotta prevent those blood clots!) It was a rough few weeks. Showers were painful and exhausting, and even just sitting on the toilet was a nightmare. I had very little appetite and I ended up losing 8lbs. The only complication I had was a minor bladder infection, which can be super common with having a catheter (which was placed and removed while I was out).

I got better and better over the months. It was a long process, because I’m a very slow healer due to my EDS. It took 18 weeks before my last stitch strings finally dissolved enough to fall off, but by December I was mostly back to normal. 8 months later and I still have a little difficulty with some motions or clothing hurting my scar. I pretty much live in leggings now! Otherwise there’s not much evidence that I had surgery.

I hope hearing about my surgery and recovery helped to answer some questions as to what to expect with this kind of surgery. It was a scary experience, but I came out the other side with little issues. I didn’t have any serious complications, and the anesthesia didn’t make me sick or act like a crazy person. I’ll be having another “adventure” with surgery in less than 2 weeks. Oh, joy! :-/ I will post about it very soon. I’ll also be sharing some of my go to recovery products and a few tid bits of advice.

Where has the time gone?

So much for a post a month…Ha! I obviously botched that goal seeing as it’s been over a year since my last post. Oh, what a year and a half! It was a time period full of moments, some wonderful, mediocre, terrifying, painful, and trying, but still just moments in the grand scope of things. I’m just thankful that I had my faith, family, and friends to lean on, and that I’m hopefully headed towards being more me again!

So where do I start? I guess a tiny bit of backstory would help…

In 2012, I was pregnant with my second baby girl, and I started having pains in my wrists, hands, ankles, and feet again. I assumed it was carpal/tarsal tunnel pregnancy pain. (I had it in 2010 during my 1st pregnancy, and I am one of those really symptomatic prego women. I had practically every symptom in the baby book, plus a few extras.) Well pregnancy ended, with the arrival of my 2nd adorable daughter, and the pain symptoms didn’t. The pain in my feet got to the point that I was barely able to walk, which plain stinks when you have a newborn and a two year old! 1 podiatrist & several attempts at treatment later, left me with a stack of medical bills and worse pain. I gave up, but managed to discover, on my own, that keeping a balance of not overdoing it/not staying off my feet kept the pain to a tolerable/functional level. (Also Young Living Panaway oil helped tremendously. Btw, not a sales pitch, I was quite the oil cynic beforehand) So for the next few years between busy mom life, starting our homeschool journey, and the fact that I hate going to the doctor, time marched on and I just dealt as best I could.

Now back to why I’ve been too distracted to write anything…

Here’s the run down! Let’s just pretend I was awesome and actually posted each of these sections over the course of the last year and half…

July 16’- Chest pains, oh the chest pains!

I’m a doctor resistant individual, but thankfully not a complete idiot. (I think not anyway! haha) Chest pains were the nudge that finally caused me to seek medical attention. I’d had heart palpitations since puberty, but they were always random and few & far between. Lately, I had noticed an increase in them whenever I had any caffeine. So when my sternum area started hurting, I thought it’d be a good idea to go get checked out. You just don’t play around with chest pains! I scheduled an appt with the first recommended primary doctor I could get in with. They ran an EKG, chest x-rays, blood tests, etc. He came to the conclusion that I had Costochondritis. Sent me home with a round of steroids. (Steroids are horrible, sweat inducing misery in pill form, and they didn’t help at all!) It hurt then, but if I’d only known what the next week held. Apparently, all the poking and prodding angered the inflammation. Pain steadily increased over the next few days, and nothing helped. Laying down was impossible, I couldn’t sleep, and it hurt to breathe. I made it to Mon, and called the doctor. I honestly thought I was having a heart attack. [Fun Fact: Costochondritis is also known as the “fake heart attack”] They told me to rush to an Urgent Care. Another EKG, a referral to a Cardiologist, and a Rx for pain pills (I refused to take), and they sent me on my way. I was miserable and frustrated that they weren’t doing more than just pushing pain pills at me, but chances would have it that I had an appt with my Ob-Gyn ( I love her!) the next day. She prescribed me a muscle relaxer that actually helped me sleep. After a two weeks of treatment, the pain finally lessened enough that I could stop the meds and still function!

Aug/Sept 16’-I’m feeling the stress…test, that is…

Finally get in to see the Cardiologist, they do an EKG, Echo, Stress Test (my goodness, this klutz can barely run on a treadmill), 48hr heart monitor (interesting adventure wearing a bajillion wires) and drew enough blood to appease a starving vampire, over the next 2 months. Results were sinus tachycardia (resting hr was 102bpm!), but no signs of what was causing it. Treatment: beta blocker…which meant a very low energy couple of months finding the right dose. Looking back, I honestly wish I’d never gotten on it!

Oct 16’-Hello Rhuemy!

Pain in chest, feet, and hands wore me down enough I went to see a different primary doctor, I prefer to have a female doctor, but had to wait 2 months for an appt with her. She ran the ANA blood test to rule out autoimmune disease, such as Lupus, RA, and several other terrifying autoimmune conditions that were possibilities. I waited a very long two weeks, and results were negative. She then referred me to an awesome rheumatologist! He did an exam, asked some questions and rather quickly diagnosed me. He had studied my chart and had immediately suspected what it was. I had been doing my own research since 2013, and had a suspicion too, but it was a rare thing so I thought I was wrong. He confirmed it was indeed, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome- Hypermobility Type and Fibromyalgia. (More info in a future post!) Interestingly enough, he has the same condition. He is also completely supportive of natural remedies. He even gave me several ideas to try.

Nov 16’-Jan17’-Calming Moments

These were rather uneventful months. So, I don’t really have an excuse for not posting. The Costochondritis pain lasted until about the end of Jan. ( I still have to be careful what I do, or I can feel it start to flare up again.) Beta blocker had leveled out, and I felt more energetic. Life is an interesting journey. Sometimes it can be less than pleasant, but I try hard to focus on the wonderful things. Faith, family, and friends are things to never take for granted. (Even if I’m guilty of doing just that at times, it’s still a good basis for living!) 2017 started off pleasantly. My EDS/Fibro was being well managed, and I no flares at all! Yay! January was an awesome month!

Feb 17’…Referred pain is weird!

Towards the end of Feb, I started having pain in my left side, it began at the end of my cycle. My cycles have always been absolutely horrendous (PSA: Super painful/heavy periods are not normal! Please talk with your doctor if you have extreme pain/bleeding every month!), but this pain just felt wrong. I called my obgyn, and they had me come in for an ultrasound. It revealed a large cyst on my right ovary. I was a bit confused, because the pain was on my left side. She prodded my right ovary and instant pain on the left. Referred pain, which she informed me can happen on rare occasions. We agreed that I would try continuous birth control pills for 3 months to see if it would shrink or go away. I hated to mess with my hormones, but it seemed necessary.

May 17′ – June 17’…Can we get ovary it already?!

By this point I could tell it wasn’t getting better. It was to the point where I had to sit carefully and I couldn’t do much activity without pain. The day after we got back from a trip, I awoke to lots of pain. Enough that I felt like I was going to throw up! I went back in for another ultrasound. They could tell it was a “chocolate” cyst ( Means blood filled, but could they have picked a grosser name? Ick!), and it hadn’t shrunk any. We scheduled a laparoscopic cystectomy surgery for June 21st. Timing was great because we had our big annual beach trip planned with all my in-laws the week before. It was a great trip! We made lots of wonderful memories! I was needless to say a bit terrified of having surgery. It’s a scary thing, but I made it through. It was supposed to be laparoscopic, but it turned into a horizontal incision (like a c-section) with complete removal of my right ovary and tube. I also ended up with a diagnosis of Stage 3 endometriosis. My doctor mentioned that it was a good thing we did the surgery when we did, because the condition of my ovary/tube could have lead to sepsis. I’m posting more details about my surgery, for those who might want to know what to expect.

July 17′ – Dec 17’…Recovery

The first month was super rough, but I slowly got better each day. I was in a lot of pain, and most daily activities became such work. I heal very slowly due to EDS, and it took a good 5-6 months before I felt like myself again. I also was able to get off my beta-blocker! (Yay! Thank you God!) My ovary/endo must have been producing too many hormones and causing the tachycardia. My obgyn recommended continuous birth control pills to control the endometriosis. In September I had two Sunday urgent care visits. The first visit, I had a sudden infection in one of my fingers (it turned purple in the middle of my daughter’s 5th birthday party) that required antibiotics, and then the second visit was for an allergic reaction (full body welts/hives and severe neck pain) to the antibiotic. Luckily, the allergy didn’t pop up until the last day, so my finger didn’t require another! I’m now allergic to 3 types of antibiotics. I’m glad there are so many options… 😉

2017 was a long, crazy, beautiful year. It seems like so much happened in it, and at the same time it went by so very fast. We did have some really wonderful times tossed in there amongst my medical woes. We had 3 lovely trips and added lots of great family memories. We got to visit Orlando for my hubby to go to a conference. My girls loved the science museum, and if you are ever in the area, go check out their dinosaur fossils! We went to the Myrtle beach area and enjoyed lots of extended family time. My kids love hanging out with their cousins! We also made it to SC for Thanksgiving with family. They have an amazing zoo/aquarium there. This year helped me realize, even more so, how awesome my family and friends are. My hubby was really there for me, as was my mom. They really picked up my slack while I recovered. I didn’t have to worry about laundry or dishes for 10 weeks! My mil even came to town just to help take care of my girls the first week! I had friends checking on me and letting me vent any time I needed. I’m so thankful for each and everyone of them. I also became a more prayerful person. Not just for the bad stuff, but also being thankful for all the great things. I’ve discovered I’m stronger than I realized and there’s nothing I can’t overcome with faith and family.

Phonics Fun! 

Here is another of my worksheet sets. I hope these can help you out on your teaching adventure! These lovelies line up with my 1st grade scope and sequence, but they can be used on their own. They are a combination of 1st and 2nd grade phonics. I have an advanced homeschooler that likes a pretty steady pace, so some pages are above the typical 1st grade level. Hope you find these as enjoyable as we’ve found them! Also, if you would let me know of any errors you may find. I made these rather quickly, and let’s face it I can be a bit scattered brained at times! If there are any phonics skills you would like to see added, shoot me a comment and I’ll see what I can come up with! You can purchase these wonderous worksheets at my TpT store.

Feel free to share, just please link back to me! 😀 Enjoy!

Let the journey continue…

A shot from our recent trip to the beautiful Smokies.

After quite the hiatus, I guess it’s time I post something. We are in the midst of our second year of homeschool. Most students are just embarking on their school year, but we actually started back in June! I hadn’t originally planned on year round schooling. It just sort of happened. (That’s homeschooling for ya! lol) The general plan is to do 4-day weeks with breaks as wanted. Ah, freedom of choice! 
A is continuing on it what we are calling 1st grade, and P will be starting K-4. Can’t believe my babies are so grown! I tried to use the month of May to plan this school year. P will just be learning some basics, which we will just take as it comes, but I made a rather extensive scope & sequence for A’s year. We used a boxed curriculum last year, and it didn’t really work for us. At all! A is turning out to be quite the little poppy. She needs a fast pace or boredom sets in. I had to supplement tons just to get through last year. 

So for this year, I researched several boxed curriculums. I knew we wouldn’t be able to use one this year, but I looked at all the scope & sequencing into I could get my hands on. I made a list of everything they contained, plus state standards. No gaps of learning for us! 😉 After some copy (can’t remember which boxed curriculums scope I used the most of, sorry), paste and editing…

…Here’s the list! Isn’t it pretty?! (The teacher nerd in me is showing, and yes I am aware!)

Then I took this lovely little list, and broke it down into months. Now I know everything that needs to, at the minimum, be done each month. Of course, only 2 months into the year, the plan has to change. A is progressing quicker than I could have fathomed! We are already onto 2nd-3rd grade math skills now. She is like a sponge, absorbing anything I put in front of her. It’s wonderful and challenging for me at the same time. She is voracious with all things math, science, social studies, and art. Once we get reading under our belts, I have a feeling the sky will be the limit with this one! 

I have decided to share our little calendar plan with all of you lovelies. Check out my other post to snag it! Hopefully someone may find it useful! I put a lot of time and effort into it, and it seems silly to keep it to myself. 

Free 1st Grade Homeschool Scope & Sequence Plan

I’ll just cut right to the chase. Here is the plan I made for our year of 1st grade homeschooling. I had several people ask for it in my homeschooling FB group, so I thought I would make it available to anyone interested. Hopefully, it can help someone on their own homeschooling journey! 😀

Feel free to share, but please link back to my page! Thanks!

Mini Cheeseburger Bake

This recipe came about, because I had a back stock of ground beef in the freezer! 🙂 It was a simple, easy dinner, and even my picky kids said it was yum! Honestly in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with Kings Hawaiian Rolls! Hope you enjoy!


1pk Kings Hawaiian Rolls 

1 Can Rotel

1 lb Ground Beef

6 Slices cheddar cheese

1/4-1/2 cup Shredded cheddar cheese (topping)

Small chunk of Velvetta ((optional) I sliced off a chunk about 1/2″ thick and broke into 12 pieces)
Preheat oven to 375


Brown beef, mix in Rotel

Slice rolls in half (no need to separate individual rolls). Place bottom half sheet of rolls in a greased casserole dish. 
Cover bottom rolls with sliced cheese, spread beef mixture on top of cheese slices, place one small square of Velvetta on each roll bottom, and cover with top half sheet of rolls. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 15 min (20 if you prefer a crisp cheese on top)! Cut rolls apart and serve! Yum!

Yarn Season! Yay!

         My favorite time of year is here, and the growth in my yarn stash shows it! Every fall I get a major case of crochet fever. I love scarves more than any normal person should, but I have long accepted I’m far from normal! 🙂 It makes me wish we had more cooler days down here in the south! I have added 4 new batches of yarn, and have only been able to use one. Time hasn’t been the issue. My dilemma is deciding on the perfect pattern to use!


      So far I used my new Homespun Lion brand yarn in Purple Haze to make a spiral ruffle scarf. Here’s the pattern. I love how it turned out! I decided to leave off row 4, so it would be a bit slimmer. I can’t wait for it to get a bit cooler, so I can wear it!

       Now to decide what I should do with the other 3! I have 3 skein of Lion brand Jiffy in Navy and in Violet. They are both deep, rich colors. Perfect to add a bit of color to a fall outfit. Thinking about another scarf and hat or maybe a boho vest.   

I also have 3 skein of Lion brandLandscapes in Boardwalk. It’s gorgeous and probably the prettiest yarn I’ve ever purchased. Which is making it impossible to decide on a pattern! I am thinking I want to make a shawl or poncho of some kind. 

Would love some suggestions! Feel free to share your favorite pattern! I will update as I make each piece! 🙂

Beef Tips & Gravy


      Beef Tips and gravy, oh my yum! Have you ever made something for dinner that shocked even yourself, because it was so yummy? I consider myself to be a decent cook. I can make most anything I try with little trouble. (Keeping in mind that I don’t typically try overly complicated things!) This was one of the best things that has ever come out of my oven! My little picky eaters gobbled it right up, and wanted seconds! We had it over Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes, but I bet it would be great over pasta too.

Here we go!

Prep time: 5min
Cook time: 2.5hrs

3lbs Beef tips, or beef stew meat

3 cups beef gravy
(or 2 jars Heinz Beef Gravy)

1 pk sliced baby Bella mushrooms

1tps roasted garlic powder

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 315°
Coat dish with olive oil (I used my Lodge Dutch Oven). Evenly spread beef, then top with mushrooms. Pour gravy over both, trying to get an even coating.
Cover and cook for 2.5 hours. Remove from oven, stir and serve over mashed potatoes, pasta, or any other yummy thing you can imagine! Hope you enjoy!

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

        Nothing beats a yummy pile of mashed potatoes, when it comes to comfort food! This easy side dish is a great accompaniment to steak, chicken or veggies off the grill. My family loves it with Beef Tips & Gravy! Yum for comfort food!

*Warning- you may want to consume these amazing potatoes all by themselves!*

Serves: 8-10
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 3 hrs on High setting
                    5 hrs on Low setting


5lbs potatoes

2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning

3 tsp Roasted Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heavy Whipping Cream (or half and half if you want to cut some calories/fat)

1/2 stick of butter

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

3- 4 cups Chicken broth (or water, add an extra teaspoon of Cajun seasoning)

Here we go!

Wash, peel, and dice potatoes.
(This takes most of the prep time! My least favorite part of making this dish. Knives and I have a difficult relationship. Blame my accident prone ways!)
Put peeled, diced potatoes in crock pot. Mix seasonings with 1 cup broth/water, add to pot. Continue adding broth/water until all potatoes are almost covered. It takes 3.5 cups in my crock pot. Cover and let cook for 3.5hrs on High or 5hrs on Low.

     Once potatoes are done, drain liquid. Mash potatoes. I transfer to a large bowl to prevent damaging the crock pot, then transfer back to crock pot to warm. Add butter, cheese and heavy whipping cream. The amount of cream depends on the consistency you want (I use a pint). Add salt /pepper to taste.

All done! Enjoy!